Stella's arms couldn't stretch up any further. She was grunting and squirming in her stroller. "What on earth could she possibly want so bad? I've never seen her do this. She is only a year and half old. She can barely even talk," I thought to myself. I looked up in the direction of her agony. We were in a children's clothing store, but up on a shelf was a small stuffed animal of a LAMB. It had a little pink flower behind each ear. It really was precious. I handed it to Stella. She hugged it tight and held on to it through the rest of our shoppping. I looked at the price tag. It was an extra ten dollars I didn't have. We put it back on the shelf. Stella was sad and but peaceful.
It was the first time I had ever seen her react and want something so much. I was really taken back by it. The next day I went to my in-laws to visit. I was sitting on the couch talking to my mother-in-law and I told her what happened in the store with Stella and the lamb. She asked, "Well did you get it for her?" I said, "No. I didn't have the extra ten dollars for just a toy." The conversation topic changed and we continued to chit chat. The next thing I knew my father-in-law came in the front door with their mail. He handed it to Phillip's mom. We were continuing our casual conversation as she went through the mail. She opened a letter with a puzzled look on her face. She didn't know what it was about, but she knew who it was for. Inside the envelope were exactly ten, one dollar bills. The letter had to do about some survey. She turned to me, held out the money and said, "Well, I guess the Lord wants Stella to have that lamb." I refused it. She simply yet sternly replied, "I want you to get that lamb for Stella and when she gets older, tell her this story and how the Lord gives us the desires of our heart." I smiled at God's little work. The next day I went back to the mall and got Stella her little lamb.
As Stella grew older, I did tell her that story. She loved it. It was one of her favorites. As these memories come to mind, I continue to be amazed at the careful thought and preparation the Lord gave us for such a cross. How the events in my life, as I look at them, have not been a series of reactions, but a lovely thought out flow that connects poignant events. I see the purposeful direction. My God has steered me to and through many things but amazingly enough, there is a unique rhythm to it all. I had no idea that moment in the store would be so significant and speak volumes to me years later. Only God, who is a God of order and beauty down to the smallest details, could have planned something like that.
I pray and think through that moment. I examine it and look at it. I pray for the deeper understanding of it as I see the reason the Holy Spirit has brought it to mind. I know there is something He wants me to see. I am given the grace to grasp something deeper. I hope I can convey it in words. It is pretty intense and maybe even hard for some to understand and believe. I will do my best. So here it goes. I see how a soul is a soul no matter what the age or development. That even if the body and mind are very young or not well developed, the soul in essence is complete. Our soul is the part of us that shares in God's Divinity, in His eternity. It is the imprint of the Father, our Creator in us. As we grow and get older, our body and mind has more capacity to learn of it, to grasp it, to discover the deeper layers of it. However, those infinite layers have been there from the soul's establishment, its beginning. The soul can still communicate with God and even with others through limited physical capability. The desires of a soul has always been present. They are part of the soul's make-up, just as the color of a person's eyes are already set before they are even born. So even if the body and mind cannot speak for it, does not mean the infinite components of the soul do not exist yet. They are very much present. I can think of a couple other examples.
When I was about five years old, I was in school. I can clearly remember this assignment because I felt so passionately even at a young age. We had a blank piece of paper with a fill in the blank at the bottom. The sentence said, "When I grow up, I want to be ______." I wrote "a mom." And then I drew a picture of myself as an adult. I look back at that and remember the ardent longing and desire I had to one day be a mother. Where did that desire come from? I was five years old! With the physical knowledge and communication skills I had at such a young age, I could probably only convey a little bit of what I thought a mother was and did. I could probably tell you a mother was a lady who had babies. And I could probably give you a few examples of what a mother did like - she feeds the kids and takes care of them. As an adult, as a mother, the answer of myself as a five year old, doesn't even begin to explain in depth of what a mother is. My physical capabilities were not fully developed. I was only five. However, my soul still felt a passion for it. I desired it completely. So much so, I remember as I grew older in Jr. High I had a terrible fear God would call me to be a nun or something else. This fear did not derive from not wanting to be something else or a nun; it came from the depths of my longing to me a mother and the possiblity of that not being fulfilled. I wanted it so badly. My soul somehow knew before it could understand, the walk of holiness and happiness God desired for me.
Another clear example is quite simple. Gia is eleven months. She cannot talk, walk, or communicate physically very much. She can't do much physically at all. However, her soul still has some capacity to convey its desires. For example, and I kid you not. This started a few months ago. We go to daily Mass and we have images of Jesus and Mary in our home. When Gia passes by ANY of them she goes nuts. She starts kicking and squirming. I sometimes can barely hold on to her. She starts squealing with joy. She waves at the images and blows them kisses. She reaches out to touch them. She even starts to clap at them. And when we go to receive Communion she gives whoever is the one who hands the Eucharist to me, she gives a GIGANTIC smile. Her mouth cannot get wider and her eyes are squinted shut. Normally, when we encounter a stranger she just stares at them with a judging look. Gia also knows which image is Jesus whether He is in the form of a man, child, or baby. She knows the difference between Mary as well. I ask, "Where's Jesus?" And she can always point him out no matter what age He is. And when there is Mary, she points and says, "Mamam." Her soul, even though her physical being is so young, still communicates of such heavenly things.
I see how even though Stella was so young, her soul, the part of her that is eternal was calling out its desire to her Creator, to her Abba, her Father. He answered back and truly did give her the desire of her heart even if she didn't understand it yet. For it is The Father that placed it in her to begin with while she was fashioned ever so perfectly in my womb. As the body and mind, the person grows, certain formation of the soul takes place. It can mature in the Light of Truth or be hindered by surrounding darkness. However, the soul's presence is not diminished nor does it get bigger. Its value remains the same as when God gave it to a life until the day it returns home. The discovery of each new-found layer is what enlightens each person, but the layers are and always will be there, found or not. Or on the other hand, if the soul is not fed attributes of God - that is what is good, holy, pure, beautiful, etc. the layers and facets will remain hidden. And with much sorrow I say, by one's own self, the soul's existence my even be forgotten all together.
Contrary to what the world teaches, the physical world was intended to point to the realities of the spirit world. The physical world should aid us in the spiritual, not the opposite. It should reflect, make tangible, manifest, and represent the spiritual, whether the good or the evil. It is the same concept of God using the physical world, the natural, to communicate to us the spiritual, the supernatural. We see Jesus do this constantly in the Gospels when He speaks of parables and stories of events with His followers. These stories and parables about His life are not just to know about what He did when He walked on earth, but to learn of the spiritual teaching He has for us. He continues to speak through us in similar ways. So as I see it, the physical story of Stella in the store speaks to me of the spiritual teaching. Just as my soul spoke of my desire at a young age of the path that would lead me to a deeper awareness of God, so did hers. I see that story as another preparation for the great calling God had for my Stella and my family. If we carefully and prayerfully listen to the desires that our SOUL speaks from the depth of us, not the desires of the flesh, we see we are actually responding to our God, the One who place them there in each of us from our very beginning. He loves us so and has triumphant plans for each of us.
Well, I hope I was able to convey fairly clearly my enlightenment. I know it's pretty deep. I feel like I could only touch on the surface through writing what I was shown. Praise be to God forever.
**Just for fun, I also wanted to show you a picture of the name craft I did for Gia. I always do one for children's rooms. I hope to share more work as I am able to do it. I was inspired by some letter I saw at Anthropologie so I did my own version. I hand painted the G. I bought a number "1" at a hardware store, flipped it upside down and added some buttons and the heart shaped rock we found on the beach when we went to visit my family in August. I painted it and used it as the dot on the "i". The letter A, I stitched fabric and placed it on a board I covered with an old vintage children's book page. I then found the little black shelf at the goodwill for a few dollars. So...my project cost me about $15-20 dollars, with the metal "1" being the most expensive item at about $9; instead of buying manufactured letters from Anthro for over $50. YAY! It was fun.